Shannon: To celebrate Halloween, one of our favorite “holidays” here at DoubleFeaturePreachers, we’ve decided to narrow down our favorite horror movies to just a small five. It wasn’t too easy for David, but hey he did it. For me personally, movies that bring me thrills and chills are some of the best. It doesn’t matter if a movie is poorly made, I know I’ve watched my fair share, but if it still scares me even just a little bit it’s a good movie in my opinion. Especially the ones that have me on the edge of my seat, watching intently and waiting impatiently to see what’s going to happen next. Movies with “jump factors” are always fun because you get to laugh at yourself afterwards, but the horror movies that truly stick with me hours - even days after, they did it up right. David, why do you love horror movies so much?
David: Well, when you say I did it, let me clarify that. First, I wrote down a list of my favorite horror films - all of them. That list ended up being nearly 50 films. So obviously, since Shannon only wanted to do five movies… I needed to do some work. Many cuts and a lot of deliberation later, I realized I could never do this. So what I ended up doing was getting five really good horror movies, that I liked a lot, all of which are very different from the other ones. That’s because I focused on one of each sub-genre of horror, if I could. Also, a quick note - I cut out as many of the thrillers as I could from being listed. Through I think they are a part of horror, they are also one that is very, very specific. So movies like Se7en, Silence of the Lambs, Don't Breathe, Green Room, and even Psycho, through a full part of horror, are not listed on my top movies. I may do an accessory thriller list, or this may develop into a lifelong project to just list a lot of great horror - who knows.
My love affair with horror (as I may have said once or twice) started early. I’ve always loved the visceral reactions you get from horror - whether it’s disgust, fear, anger, etc. It’s one of the few genres that still can take risks with an audience, and can still surprise you. It’s also one of the most self-aware genres, which allows for horror comedies and things to really come to the forefront at times. Each decade has been so different from the last, and I continue to be amazed at the new waves of horror each year.
With all that being said, here’s some of Shannon and I’s favorites (David's aren't necessarily in any sort of order).
Happy Halloween everyone!
Shannon: Originally, I had 47 Meters Down in this last spot, because I 100% enjoyed and loved that movie regardless of what all the other reviewers and critics thought. But since watching this film sent into us from its director, I just love this movie. It’s full of scary moments and is officially the second movie to make it hard for me to be in the dark and to get a good night's sleep. If you have the opportunity to purchase this straight to DVD released movie, please do. It’s definitely worth your time. The masks used in this film will haunt me for awhile… and I plan to watch it again tonight!
Read our review on Hell House LLC: Extended Director's Cut
David: Ok, so I cheated, and this one is two movies. I discovered them both around the same time, and love them both dearly, so they are both going onto the list.
First, back before The Lord of the Rings, no one really knew who Peter Jackson was. That’s because he was doing low budget horror flicks like Dead Alive (also known as Brain Dead). Featuring a copious amount of blood and gore, as well as some of the funniest zombie scenes ever put to screen, I could not stop laughing while watching it.
In the same vein (haha, horror puns) you’ll find Re-Animator. Arguably much scarier than Dead Alive, it still features a talking head carried by its body. Jeffrey Combs put himself on the horror movie legend list because of his mad scientist, one of the truly best since Frankenstein himself. I can’t really put into words all the odd and random things I love about this movie. It’s not one of the best horror films, but it is one of my favorites.
Shannon: Back before we started this website, David was always feeding me DVD’s to watch to see what reactions the films would give me (hence the start of DoubleFeaturePreachers), and this was one of them. I had never heard of it before, but am almost always willing to try a horror film. This one was just plain creepy, and that ending, makes you wonder what kind of people are living in that house. Also makes you a tad scared to read a children’s book in fear that something’s going to come get you. Classic monster under the bed or in the closet movie.
David: Anyone who knows me knew I couldn’t make it through a list about horror without talking about at least one movie based on a Stephen King novel. However, it’s one of King’s least favorite adaptations, and that’s because of the way it mutilates the source material. However, Kubrick’s thrilling masterpiece is a top notch horror film. Full of random, moving archaeology, designed specifically to mess with your mind, and containing one of Jack Nicholson’s best performances to date, this movie is probably the best haunted/ghost story out there.
Shannon: Again, this falls into the category of movies that David fed me before the website started. I loved this film throughout. Chloe Grace Moretz continues to be one of my favorite young actresses (she needs to be in more *cough cough* producers and director *cough* and I know she’ll be even more great in the future). Plus, this is a vampire movie, how much more awesome can you get? I know that this is based on another film Let the Right One In, but I have not seen that one.
David: Think back to a time before Freddy was portrayed as a guy with a rotting cheese face (so before the 2010 version). Back in 1984, killers were masked, and there was very little humor in it. Enter Freddy, with his wisecracks and his quips. He changed the horror world, and really helped pave the way for the many horror comedies to follow. Along with that, Freddy, at least in the beginning of the series, is really, really scary. The different ways he can kill you is scary, and to be attacked at our most vulnerable (while we sleep) is one of the best ideas out there.
Shannon: Psycho is a classic and one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films, definitely my favorite one that is considered a horror movie anyway. I remember learning (and watching) this in my film studies class in high school. It was the first movie to kill off the lead actress in the beginning of the film. That must have been epic back then, it’d be nearly impossible nowadays to keep such a spoiler to yourself. But the fact the the lead actor is purely psycho (hence the title) just adds to the overall story and makes it that much greater.
David: I’ve always liked Werewolf movies, because I think they are one of the few that is really all over the map. They, like all horror movies, got progressively more violent as the years went on. But what I really enjoy about them is all the metaphors that lend themselves well. You have the dual nature of man, the obvious puberty metaphor that Teen Wolf took advantage of, and many more. So you’ve got all those things, but it also allows you to have the mood pieces set around it. An American Werewolf in London has all those things, as well as being the best transformation out there, and exceedingly funny at times. On top of all that - the violence is really scary. It’s one of the best, and I would highly recommend it.
Shannon: I chose Insidious to be my number one horror movie, because I remember the first time that I watched this movie. It was the first movie that actually made me scared to be in the dark and made it difficult to fall asleep. Granted, I watched it alone in my dorm room with all the lights turned off, but still I was terrified that night. It also didn’t help that I lived in a dorm room and there are always noises all around. But the sheer creepiness and hideousness of spirits in this film are just awesome.
Some that almost made my top 5: The Exorcist, Get Out, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Sixth Sense, Creep.
David: The Evil Dead franchise is just a masterpiece in itself. Not many characters have a full character arc like Ash, but it’s so much more than that. When you combine it with the fact that Sam Raimi was extremely inventive when it came to camera use, plot, and effects, the Evil Dead movies were revolutionary, even spawning their own musical. What I love about the second one in particular is how it takes everything that did well in the series and amps it to the umpteenth degree. It’s bloodier, funnier, scarier, and what else could you really want?
Some honorable mentions - those that I've already talked about in my brief thriller blurb, Jaws, Creep, Hell House LLC, Paranormal Activity, Saw, Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, Bubba Hotep, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Cabin In The Woods, etc. etc. etc.
You know Shannon, I'm not as mad about your list as I thought I would be when we started this assignment (that may have something to do with you removing 47 Meters Down from your top list). I really liked the inclusion of, well, just about all of them. It seems to me like you seem to stray more to the ghost stories and thrillers with what you enjoy in a horror film. Do you think there is any particular reason why?
Shannon: I think that's because those are the only ones that truly leave me scared/horrified by what I've watched. All the slasher movies are exciting, but I just don't get the thrills from them that a lot of people do. I know for a fact that it's not real and that most of the time doesn't happen in real life. But ghost stories, that I'm on the fence about, and even if I don't usually believe in that stuff, a part of me still thinks that it can happen. Plus, the music in most ghost movies just really add to the overall tension, and I don't feel like a lot of slasher movies do that for me.
Personally, I've only seen two of the movies you chose: The Shining and The Evil Dead, both of which I watched because you told me I had to see them a few years ago. The Shining didn't really do anything for me, I was mostly confused and didn't quite grasp the concept. And The Evil Dead was just an awful, gruesome movie (still better than Cabin in the Woods though), which is how I envision most of your other movie choices being like. Sorry, I don't think I'd watch any of the other ones. An American Werewolf in London - if it's anything like An American Werewolf in Paris, I'd give it a try.
Thanks for reading! We hope you have an awesome Halloween!!
David and Shannon write about movies.